UKIP Pressure forces Government to ask fishing community what They want from Brexit

Published Nov 23, 2017

In a break from tradition, Government send out Brexit questionnaire to all 36,000 signatories of Mike Hookem MEP’s petition to remove the UK from the CFP and the Repeal Bill.

Pressure from UKIP MEP, Mike Hookem, has forced the Government to finally engage with fishing communities and the public over their plans to keep the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) using Theresa May’s so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’.

Mr Hookem’s petition, which calls for the UK fishing industry to be made a stand-alone entity in the post-Brexit era, reached 36,000 signatories this week.

However, in an unusual move, the Government sent out a questionnaire to signatories asking for their views on how the UK fishing industry should look in the post-Brexit age.

The questionnaire came the day after Mr Hookem criticised the Government’s contradictory response to his petition, which stated we would ‘regain our rights to manage our fisheries’, but would maintain the status quo by adopting EU fisheries legislation.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Hookem said, “Having signed many Parliamentary petitions over the years, I know it is highly unusual for the Government to send out a questionnaire to respondents after they have already replied.”

“The fact that the Government have done this signals to me that they are starting to understand the depth of negative feeling out there regarding a second betrayal of our fishing industry.

“With Brexit, we have a golden opportunity to not only reclaim an industry that has formed a part of our heritage for over 2000 years, but which will also be worth over £6 billion pounds a year to our economy.

“So, I would encourage anyone who has signed my petition to hammer home these point to Government. We want the establishment of our 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ); the return of the 70% of fish currently taken from our waters by EU vessels; and the establishment of a sufficient fisheries protection force.

“Implementing these measures will give a huge boost to struggling coastal communities that have been devastated by over 40 years of the CFP.”

“The simple fact is, the people of Britain did not vote during the referendum to keep the EU through other means, and especially did not vote to continue handing over the majority of our fishing wealth to Brussels.

“The fishing industry does not want ‘continuity’, they want change!”


Notes for Editors:

Questionnaire sent to petition respondents:

You recently signed the petition “Stop the Common Fisheries Policy being adopted into UK law post-Brexit.”:

A group of MPs called the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee are investigating how possible changes to the fisheries and seafood trading arrangements between the UK and the EU will affect fishers, seafood processors, consumers, coastal communities and the environment.

To help them with their investigation, they'd like to hear from you.

The Committee are particularly interested in these questions:

1. What are the most important things that the Government need to look at when thinking about UK fisheries?

2. What are the challenges and opportunities that UK fisheries will face after the UK leaves the European Union, Common Fisheries Policy and London Fisheries Convention?

3. What stock management objectives should the Government establish in order to achieve the right balance between the interests of seafood consumers, fishers, seafood processors and the environment?

4. What trade policy objectives should the Government establish in order to achieve the right balance between the interests of consumers, fishers, seafood processors, and the environment?

5. How effective are the Government's arrangements for representing the interests of the UK's constituent nations within the UK's negotiations for fisheries?

You can find out more, including how to send in your views, here:

We’re expecting the Government to publish the Fisheries Bill in the new year. That’s the draft law that will control access to the UK’s waters and set fishing quotas once the UK has left the EU. The Committee wants to finish its work before that Bill is published. The sooner the Committee receives your views, the easier it is for them to use it in their investigation. They can only accept submissions until 13 December.

What is the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee?

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee looks at and questions how the Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

• is run
• spends money
• decides on its policies

It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

You can find out more about the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on its website:

You can follow the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on Twitter: @CommonsEFRA

This is a House of Commons ‘select committee’. Find out how select committees work

The Petitions team

UK Government and Parliament


Text of Government’s response to Mike Hookem MEP petition:

When the UK leaves the EU, we will no longer be bound by the Common Fisheries Policy.

As an independent Coastal State, we will regain our rights to manage our fisheries in accordance with our rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and have control of our Exclusive Economic Zone (out to 200 nautical miles or the median line with other states). The UK will be responsible for the management of natural marine resources in this area and will be able to control and manage access to UK waters including fisheries.

The Government has always been clear that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill ensures that, so far as possible, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before. This will provide the maximum possible certainty and continuity to businesses, workers and consumers across the UK – so that they can have confidence that they will not be subject to unexpected changes on the day we leave the EU.

The Bill delivers on our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK. It is the mechanism by which the UK will leave the EU while taking back control.

The Fisheries Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech in June will demonstrate how we are taking back control of access to our waters and the allocation of fishing opportunities.

The remaining technical elements of current EU fisheries law will be incorporated into UK law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, ensuring both certainty and that our fisheries are managed sustainably.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Mike Hookem MEP petition link

The original text of the petition:

Stop the Common Fisheries Policy being adopted into UK law post-Brexit.

We call on the Government to make the fishing industry a stand-alone entity, outside of the 'Great Repeal Bill,' after revelations that 'technical measures' of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be adopted into UK law on our leaving the EU.

On the UK's withdrawal from the EU, Britain can leave the CFP and reclaim its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under international law (UNCLOS).

Adopting UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) would allow total UK control over access; the setting of quota; fisheries management, and fishing systems; rather than blindly following the terms dictated to us by Brussels.

However, adopting the CFP into UK law for transitional purposes not only allows continued access for EU vessels into UK waters but also opens the possibility for the EU taking legal action, claiming, 'continuity of rights.'

Therefore, if we are to have a fishing industry post-Brexit, keeping the terms of the CFP in place is not an option!

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